A second attempt to increase the age for the purchase of tobacco, nicotine or vapor products in Osage Beach failed to get much interest from the board of aldermen.

A second attempt to increase the age for the purchase of tobacco, nicotine or vapor products in Osage Beach failed to get much interest from the board of aldermen.

Alderman Jeff Bethurem is an advocate of raising the legal age to buy such products from 18 to 21, and last week, continued his push for adoption of an ordinance. He introduced the idea at a previous board meeting and asked City Attorney Ed Rucker to draft an ordinance for the board's consideration.

Bethurem first shared his proposal during an April 20 meeting at which time it faced some opposition. He announced at the May 4 meeting that he was indefinitely withdrawing his proposal because of issues with the language of the ordinance.

The revised ordinance was resubmitted for discussion at last week's meeting, and was backed by several non-smoking advocates who were in attendance.

The smoking age ordinance was the last regular agenda item, and Bethurem asked if several members of the audience could speak in support of the age-increase issue. Mayor John Olivarri noted that no one associated with the smoking age issue had stepped forward during the Public Comment portion of the agenda, but allowed Bethurem to proceed.

"We've already gone through that portion of the agenda," Olivarri told Bethurem. "If you have some questions or comments you'd like to make or if any of the board members have questions they can certainly bring those up."

Bethurem noted there were certain people in attendance with expertise to share in support of raising the age for the purchase of tobacco-related products. He also noted that anyone under 21 would not be fined for possession of tobacco or vaping products.

"My idea is to move forward and put this on the agenda at some point, but what I wanted to do tonight is have some discussion. That's why these people are here tonight, so we can talk as a group about it," Bethurem said. "This way when we talk about it we have these folks who are experts about it."

"That's normally not how we do it," Olivarri said. "Normally, we'd do this in a special session where we could being people to discuss the subject matter, but if the board's desire is to involve the community I have no problem with that."

Alderman Kevin Rucker noted that some of the wording in the proposed ordinance referred to "state" rather than "city" and needed to be updated. He also restated comments made at a previous meeting.

"I'm happy to listen, and I have given this a lot of consideration, but I came back to the same thing I thought of several months ago and that is this is a piece of legislation that needs to be handled by the state, at the state level as they do with with age for driving, the age for drinking" Rucker said.

Alderman Richard Ross concurred.

After hearing from representatives of Lake Regional Hospital, the American Lung Association, Smoke-Free at the Lake and the Council for Drug Free Youth organizations, Bethurem asked for a consensus of board members and if they had any changes, saying he wanted to move forward.

Mayor Olivarri noted that Bethurem had the right to place the item on a future agenda.

"I'd like to suggest that the board take the documents, and if they have any questions or concerns or potential changes that you get those to the city attorney or city administrator," Olivarri said. "And then Alderman Bethurem at the appropriate time has the option to bring this forward as a board agenda item."

A copy of the proposed ordinance is available at the City of Osage Beach, 1000 Osage Beach Parkway.